One down, two to go. Sunday night, the Houston Dynamo did what many had thought impossible: walk out of the Home Depot Center with three points. While getting their first win against the LA Galaxy in Carson since 2007 is nice, the MLS schedule forces us to quickly turn our heads towards the next match. From sunny southern California (I presume the rain stopped as soon as the match was over), the Dynamo fly cross country to the eastern seaboard for a Wednesday night showdown with D.C. United.
This will be the first time that the Dynamo face a foe they've already played this season, as DC was at BBVA Compass for the season opener back on March 2nd - a match that the Dynamo won 2-0, thanks to goals from James Riley (own goal) and Ricardo Clark. Since that time, DC has looked nothing like the side that faced the Dynamo in last year's conference final - with just one win and a draw in eight matches, they currently sit at the bottom of both the Eastern Conference and the league as a whole.
With all that said, this is still a match that troubles me - though admittedly not quite as much as it did before Sunday's match. D.C. United is a side with much more talent than their record suggests, and though they've only scored four goals all season, they're always a candidate to put up a number of goals in a hurry. While Chris Pontius may or may not play, signs point that Nick DeLeon could be in the eighteen, which would undoubtedly be a boost to DCUs fortunes. Two players that Houston supporters know well, Dwayne De Rosario and Carlos Ruiz (well, there's two names I thought I might never write in the same sentence) will be in the mix - with DeRo likely to start and Ruiz on the bench.
One of the factors in this result could be rest. The Dynamo will be playing on three days rest, while DC hasn't played since April 27th. Sunday's victory also only featured one substitution - Brian Ching for Giles Barnes in the 84th minute - and you have to wonder what the Dynamo's XI will look like on Wednesday night. Brad Davis will be back in the fold after serving his suspension following his late red in the match against Colorado, but less is known about the availability of Warren Creavalle, and there's still no word on when Omar Cummings will be match ready. The return of Alex Dixon from a loan spell in the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies means that the depth in midfield is strengthened a little, but with so many injuries, you have to hope that certain players (such as Will Bruin and centerbacks Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor and Eric Brunner) are able to deal with this week's schedule.
I have my reservations about this match, between the timing and the two matches around it. After this match, the Dynamo return to Houston and await Sporting Kansas City, and there may be cause for concern that between SKC and the Galaxy, DC might be overlooked (especially with their current record). However, the Dynamo have proved that they can get points in consecutive away matches. After notching their first win against the Galaxy in LA since September of 2007, the Dynamo's 3-4-1 regular season record at RFK Stadium doesn't seem quite as intimidating as it did a few days ago.
DCU hasn't collected a point since March 16th. They've been outscored 11-3 in five straight losses, and the last time the Dynamo saw them, Tally Hall ended up with a clean sheet. Fortune has not been kind to D.C. United so far this season, but that doesn't mean that this will be an easy match for the Dynamo. Recent results aside, this is still a side that often struggles on the road, and only ninety minutes of soccer will show how this match will turn out. With how the Dynamo play at home, this season will be made or broken by how they play away from BBVA Compass Stadium. They put in a good performance last Sunday - let's hope they can put in another one on Wednesday night.